Chrysler Thomas was born on September 12th, 1934 on the Island of Grenada, and died on February 11, 2013. He was known by many as Chris but I knew him as Granddad. He lived with us for a time when my brother Christian was seven years old and I was only five. I remember him as always keeping himself busy, whether helping my dad fiddle around with electronic gadgets or in the kitchen whipping up some delicious West Indian Food. My mom called him her partner in crime, partly because they shared a passion for knick knacks and bargains at garage sales and thrift stores and partly because they would plot to hide all their purchases from my dad before he saw them.
We would march downstairs to the smell of fresh baked bread in the oven, and a pot of salt-fish sizzling on the stove, oblivious of the fact that those two had been up since the crack of dawn rummaging through the neighborhood garage sales. I never knew him as a business man, or a politician, or someone who ran the Ministry of Agriculture in Grenada because he never spoke much about it. I had to learn about that part of Granddad’s life from the rest of my family.
He was born in Mt Rose, St Patricks Grenada, the first of three children. His dad my great grandpa Raliegh was a very strict Seventh Day Adventist so he made sure that his three children were schooled in the ways of the faith. Granddad however, took his own path and when he became a young man traveled to the Island of Trinidad to marry my Grandmother, Agatha Wells, much to the dismay of his parents. He returned home with his new bride in tow and together they began their future together. For the many who witnessed that part of history, their partnership was a joint venture and with hard work and dedication, they produced four children, and a very good life. On my visit to the island with my dad, I heard a great deal of the impact my Grandparents had on the lives of the people in their community. It makes me proud to be a part of it even if it’s just as a witness.
After my Grandmother died in 1973, granddad’s life in Politics began. He also met and married Lydia Jack and that union produced two more children. During this time he served his country as a member of Parliament, and also headed the Ministry of Agriculture. The revolution in 1979 came with many changes, politically and personal, for Granddad. He spent almost two years in political custody and upon his release was asked by the powers that be, to leave the island, if he knew what was good for him. It was with great sadness that he left his beloved country of Grenada. He then came to the US and reunited with his wife, who was already there. My aunt Samantha and uncle Archer were born shortly after and granddad took whatever job he had to in order to provide for his family. His last position held was a security officer at Kennedy International Airport. My auntie Sam and uncle Norbs were the light of his life and he enjoyed spending time with them. He loved to laugh at auntie Sam’s jokes and she would often go out of her way to tell him jokes or funny stories.
Granddad’s life was a study in courage as he never wallowed in self pity, never mourned or lamented over how much he lost when he left Grenada. Instead he was always occupied with some project, or task around the house. He especially enjoyed working on his car, cooking, taking pictures and developing film, or his hobby as a licensed shortwave radio operator, when he would talk to friends all over the world. He always enjoyed working with his hands and I have the fondest memory of him building me the most beautiful dollhouse.
A few years ago, Granddad announced that he was going to be baptized and dedicate his life to God for the second time. The family did not take him seriously as he had for many years, neglected all the teachings of his childhood. But true to his word, he got baptized again and began to attend the Canarsie SDA Church. This action gives us the assurance that we will meet our Granddad once again, in heaven.
Granddad leaves to mourn, his siblings Elsis, and Raulton, his eight children Raymond, Greta, Norma, Rodney, Anderson, Andre, Samantha, Archer and his step daughter Rachel, his son-in-law, Moran, and grandchildren Royian, Knox, Rachael, Christabelle, Christopher- Lawrence, Jonathan and Benjamin, Clevette, Idi, Curtis, Sarah, Issac, Rebecca, Paul, Summer, Christian, Christopher, and Kadence ……. He is also mourned by his nine great grandchildren, and many other family and friends.